How did you do that? This is the sort of question that, dependent on the emphasis, can mean many different things.
This year my husband has had his birthday during lockdown, so the usual options for birthday treats, like going out for a meal, were not an option. Instead I offered to cook his favourite foods at home – and he asked could I make a Black Forest Gateaux? Well the answer was, a not very confident, possibly. I set to work to make a fat free chocolate cake, which you then fill with cherries and cream – definitely not a healthy option – but I hoped that it tasted as nice as it looked. His reaction when he saw the cake was: ‘How did you do that?’ Now he didn’t want me to explain the details of the recipe and go through the step by step process of making, assembling and decorating the cake – it was more, what we call a backhanded compliment – ‘How did YOU do that?’
A few years ago when my sons were in their teens they often used to have friends round to the house. One day, when they were all in the lounge watching TV, from the kitchen, I heard the sound of breaking glass. When I went to investigate, I was greeted by a set of worried looking faces, and a broken glass light shade shattered all over the floor. Of course I said: ‘HOW did you do that?’ With the meaning of HOW, when you were all supposed to be watching TV, has someone broken the light fitting! Of course then there was a lengthy involved explanation of who was doing what and, they hadn’t meant for it to happen, it was just an accident….I’m sure there are many similar stories.
Both stories are about expectations – sometimes you can surprise someone in a good way, when you do something which is above or beyond what they expected. Then conversely there are those times when you are disappointed, when something happens as a consequence of behaviour which you certainly hadn’t expected.
In the same way, I have expectations of God, but frequently his timing in sending blessing and encouragement often surprises me – how he has worked things together, at just the right time to bless, to strengthen, to provide, how did you do that? Amazing God.
And I thank God, that He doesn’t have the same expectations of me, when I mess up and I make mistakes. When I confess, there is no condemnation, no question of how did you do that? Just forgiveness and full restoration. Amazing God.
This post is part of the Five Minute Friday link-up – to write for five minutes on one word, today’s prompt was ‘How’.